There are enormous amounts of historical information available. Here are some great places to start.
A site I have recently come across is Horn-u-copia. Despite the name, it is not simply about horns, but all brass. The site describes itself as "An Internet Forum dedicated to Obscure Antique and Out-of-Production Brass Instruments." There are many resources categorized, including a serial number list.
And speaking of serial numbers, the definitive brass list is Lars Kirmser's Music Trader lists.
The final site for this blog post is Dick Martz's historical horn collection.
Feel free to share your favorite historical resource in the comments!!!
Dave and Chris are brass technicians who enjoy helping players get the most out of their playing experience.